Ape Canyon / Plains of Abraham

Cougar, Washington 98616

Ape Canyon / Plains of Abraham

Ape Canyon / Plains of Abraham Professional Review and Guide

"The ride through this area starts with a climb on regenerated forest and old growth untouched by the eruption. It travels on the east side of the Lahar mudflow, which you can spy through the woods. Breaking out of the trees, past a delicate meadow, the full effect of the eruption emerges. The overlook atop Ape Canyon dramatically shows the path of a mudflow to its depths; the regenerating but stark blast zone shows the cycles of nature at its most dramatic.

Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams lie beyond the moonscape before you, as Mt. St. Helens rules the view. This ride is not for beginners. You don't have to make the whole trip to appreciate the grandeur of the location, though. If you're a strong intermediate-level rider with a sense of adventure, go for it--there's no shame in turning back before Windy Ridge Viewpoint. Scenery: Old-growth and regenerated forest on the climb up to ape Canyon viewpoint; in-your-face views of Mt. St. Helens as you travel through regenerating blast zone; views of volcanic neighbors Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams; more dramatic vistas from the windy Ridge Viewpoint."

Ape Canyon / Plains of Abraham Reviews

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The trail has about 4 or 5 blown down dead trees blocking the path in several areas. You can pick your bike up over them though. This trail is still my favorite of all the local trails due to the view and the lengthy climb at "altitude" (for us low-landers). This is by far the best work out and the largest payoff at the top. Plus you get a fun trip back down. At the top there are still some snow drifts and I did sink in to my knee on one of them. Plan to get a little wet right now. Please don't ride around the drifts - you will destroy sensitive vegetation and irritate those who keep the trail open to mountain bikers. It is rideable all the way to the Plains - but going across the Plains toward Windy Ridge can be a challenge with plenty of hike-a-bike across the snow drifts. There is still more riding involved than there is hiking in snow - so it is definitely a go at this point. Enjoy, and watch out for hikers. You will scare the crap out of them or worse yet- run over one - if you don't ride carefully coming down. Leave yourself room to stop going around the many blind corners. Bring at least the equivalent of two to three water bottles full of water and snacks - it can be from 4 to 5 hours round trip if you do the whole thing.

Ape Canyon / Plains of Abraham Photos

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Trail Information

Nearby City
2,000 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
June through October
2,850 feet
Trailhead Elevation
4,200 feet
Top Elevation
Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument Headquarters, 360-247-3900
Local Contacts
Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument map and Green Trails #364 or #364S.
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018